It is easy to dismiss children scuffles with a “kids will be kids” mentality. While this statement may often ring true regarding minor altercations or slips on the playground, our children have legal, enforceable rights in the schoolhouse.
When a child is physically injured at school, teachers, counselors, administrators, and the school district itself may be held liable for negligence. School personnel have a legal duty to maintain reasonably safe school grounds and, likewise, have a duty to protect the children from physical injury.
Bullying Versus Physical Abuse
In the technological age, bullying has taken on an entirely new meaning. With social media and most young people possessing smartphones, children can be tormented both on and off school property. When bullying, harassment, or threats are occurring on school grounds, however, school administrators have an obligation to act in most instances under California law.
While mere words or threats may not be enough at times, overt actions between children may require indefinite separation of the children, placing children in different classrooms, meetings with both parents of the children involved, changing the schedules of the children so they will no longer have lunch, recess, or common activities together, or taking other action to avoid potential future injury to students.
Premises Liability Concerns
Much like school administrator’s responsibility to keep children reasonably safe from one another, the school is also responsible for ensuring the safety of school property. Whether this be ensuring the safety and functionality of playground equipment or ensuring the kindergarten blocks are not so small they can be swallowed, the district’s obligations extend outside of the classroom to school activities that may occur on the playground or otherwise on school property. Schools also have an obligation to provide adequate supervision for their students—failure to do so may lead to injury on the playground or injury between students.
What Can I Do to Protect My Child?
Maintaining an active relationship with your child’s school personnel is key in ensuring his or her safety at school. If you have any reason to suspect that your child is being bullied at school, notify school personnel immediately.
When doing so, make sure to specifically document who you spoke with, when you spoke with them, and what type of action was taken in response to your concerns. If the teacher, administrators, or district fails to action information that may have prevented your child’s injury, this may serve as critical evidence of the school’s negligent conduct.
It is critical to ensure that your child understands that his or her needs are important; always make sure to ask direct questions so you can know as much as possible about what is happening on the playground and in the classroom. Keeping in contact with your child’s teachers, coaches, and other authority figures at the school may also notify you of any potential red flags to watch out for.
San Diego Child Injury Attorney
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, our team of experienced child injury attorneys has the knowledge necessary to help you bring legal action on behalf of your child. Whether the responsible party is an individual, a school district, or a combination of many individuals, we will work hard to ensure that the negligent parties are held responsible for their oversights that caused injury to your child. To learn more about your legal options when your child has been hurt at school or in another public setting, contact our San Diego law office today.